Acetate Stencils

One of the most popular ways of design transfer is with the acetate stencil Acetate sheeting is acquired through your tattoo supplier in rolls or sheets which measure in approximately .020 inch thickness. The most practical way is in rolled sheets that you cut to size yourself. The curl in the sheeting is easily removed by running under hot water after it has been cut down to size. The hot water softens it up and allows it to be flattened out.

How to do an acetate stencil. Materials needed: A design, acetate sheet to cover design and a stencil cutter. First the design is taped or secured to a drawing board or sheet of glass and the acetate sheet (already cut to size), placed over it. Both are secured to keep from moving and the plastic sheet should be about one inch bigger around than the design. The stencil cutter is a pen-type holder which grasps a sturdy stainless steel scribe pin. You then follow the lines of the design with the stencil cutter engraving the lines of the design right into the acetate. Work slowly and get your lines smooth. Don't include any shading. When done, the acetate should have the lines of the design etched right into it like little grooves. It isn't necessary to cut your way all the way through the other side, just a solid groove is good enough. The stencil must then be deburred. To do this, take another piece of acetate about one square inch in size and hold it upright with your fingers so the piece is vertical and the stencil is horizontal. The idea here is to rub the stencil back and forth with the edge of the other piece of acetate.

This scraping will take the little burrs out of the stencil, making the transfer come out cleaner and sharper. When this is done, remove the acetate stencil from the table and round off the corners with a pair of scissors, so there are no sharp edges. The acetate stencil is now complete. One great advantage to this style of stencil is if you want a reverse image, just flip over the stencil and etch the image on the other side, creating two stencils, one on each side, of the same design. Number each stencil according to the design sheet and put your name on it. Another advantage is their shelf life. They last quite a long time and can be used over and over again. Clean them up and file then* away for the next person wanting that design. Since they take longer to prepare, the beginner should stick to the pencil or ink method of transfer at first, slowly building up the collection of acetate stencils. It saves a lot of time to have acetate stencils cut with your most popular designs on thenĀ» first, so they don't have to be repeatedly drawn over and over when you are real busy.

DEBURRING Aft ACETATE STENi back and forth in this manner

DEBURRING Aft ACETATE STENi back and forth in this manner

There is a different way to adhere the transfer to the skin with acetate stencils, Before going into this though, there is one more method of cutting an acetate stencil other than with the stencil cutter. This way is using an electric engraver or electric stencil cutter. This really lightens the pressure on the hands and it saves time. The only drawback is it must be engraved on a thick sheet of plate glass (or light table). If engraved on a board or desk, the grooves seem to flatten out and distort. The thick glass (at least one-half inch thick) keeps the grooves in the acetate sheet sharp and clean, making a good print on the skin.

The method uf transferin using an acetate stencil involves the useof stencil powder and vaseline. There are several kinds of stencil powder available hut !>e advised that "willow charcoal" is not the Intnl. and be sure you get a professional grade of black stencil powder from a reputable dealer. Thke the stencil with the groove side up then shake a little powder on it, Rub it in with your finger. Hold it over a basket (this stuff can get messy) and give it a good flick with your fingers. Sometimes a slight wiping with a towel also may clean it up. This step is to ensure all the excess is removed and just enough powder is left to fill the grooves. The stencil is now prepared for transfer. This next step should actually be done first before powdering the stencil because your hands are now all dirty. Wash and scrub them up. Vaseline comes in two varieties. White and carbolated (yellow). The kind to use is the carbolated kind because it is more sticky After shaving and preparing the skin, smear a thin layer of carbolated vaseline around the area. The most common mistake here is to smear on too much.

It should be just enough to make the skin glisten and any more will smudge the image. Center thestencil and putiton the prepared spot. Keep it pressed in there and work it in with your fingers, rubbing it in onal! areas. The next trick is to quickly zing it away from the skin. Don't pull it off slowly. A fine clean design should be left. If it doesn't look too great, just wash it off and try again. This should not be on one ofyour customers, but on yourself. It should be perfect the first time for the client, and once again, lots of practice on yourself will perfect the technique. Only when you can transfer a design perfect every time are you ready for any kind of professional tattooing

When Finished adhering the stencil, it should be cleaned up. Grasp it with a set of medical tongs and hold it in the ultrasonic tank for a few seconds, then wash it good under the faucet. It then should be dried with a paper towel and then filed away.

If you can get a good Xerox of something, it can usually be reproduced on skin. It's difficult to reproducea photograph, but there have been done some good likenesses of peoples faces.

Do tattoos from drawings because that way it's easier to get lines for the stencil. If you're doing a back piece the exact size of a record cover, tape two spirit masters together to make the design side by side, tape the tops and bottoms together. Then staple Xeroxed copy on top of the spirit masters, white side up. Do this on a clean, flat, hard table. Just trace over all the lines and there you have a perfect stencil. Remove the staples after checking to make sure all the lines are traced over. Then carefully remove the carbon paper from the sheets. I>eing careful not to dislodge the tape holding them together exactly.

All these methods in this chapter work really well and should be used with each other. Choosing the right method depends upon the circumstances. It can only be stressed that the beginning tattooist practice making stencils and transferring them until perfection is attained. The stencil is very important to tattooing since a clean stencil is easier to tattoo from and a sloppy one produces sloppy results. Perfect stencil making is a requirement to professional tattooing.


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  • assunta
    How do tattoo acetates work?
    8 years ago
  • adelfo rizzo
    How to flatten a curl up acetate stencil?
    8 years ago
  • maija
    How to make a acetate stencil tattoo?
    4 years ago
  • Erik Weissmuller
    Which acetate for stencil burner?
    4 years ago
  • omar
    How to use acetate for tattooing?
    4 years ago
  • odovacar
    Where can i buy acetite paper for tattoos?
    4 years ago
  • sanni
    How to apply an acetate wall stencil?
    3 years ago
  • autumn reid
    Why don't tattoo stencil clean when rubbed doing drawing tattoo?
    3 years ago
  • theodoric
    How to make acetate stencils for tattooing?
    2 years ago
  • LILY
    How to apply 2 piece tattoo stencil?
    1 year ago

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